Betula lenta

Sweet Birch, Spice Birch (Black Birch)

Categories: Trees

Twigs are slender, reddish brown and lenticellate with a wintergreen smell when cut. On older trees, spur shoots are apparent. Terminal buds are absent, lateral buds two toned, green and brown.

More About Betula lenta

  • species of birch native to northern North America
  • young bark reddish-brown to black, with large horizontal lenticels; older bark black, plate-like

A medium sized tree with a single straight trunk reaching up to 60 feet tall. The bark is reddish brown to black on young trees, later gray to nearly black; eventually breaking up into large, thin, irregular, scaly plates. Birch oil, or oil of wintergreen, used to flavor medicines and candy, was once obtained from the bark and wood of young trees. That wasteful process has been replaced by the manufacture of the same oil from wood alcohol and salicylic acid. The trees can be tapped like Sugar Maples in early spring and the fermented sap made into birch beer.

We do NOT SHIP plants. ALL Sales are in person at our garden center.


40-55 ft


15-25 ft

Hardiness Zone:


Betula lenta Characteristics


  • Good for Naturalizing
  • Mass Plant
  • Good for Shady Sites
  • Specimen
  • Exfoilating Bark

Critter Resistance

  • Rabbit Resistant
  • Deer Resistant


  • Sun Tolerant
  • Shade Tolerant
  • Part Sun/Part Shade
  • Does best in full sun

Growth Rate in the Garden

  • Medium

Soil Moisture Needs

  • Tolerates most soils

Flower Color

  • inconspicuous


  • Spreading
  • Vase-like
  • Upright